What is Cryptomessaging, and Why Should I Care?
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
The World Wide Web was supposed to put us in the drivers seat, letting us decide which websites to visit and which webpages to read.
But something happened along the way: It became a business. And businesses need to make money. So they built apps to "help" us navigate a bigger World Wide Web full of people, messaging, news, games, videos, and other social media. In this new model, businesses decide what we see by giving us a wall, a feed, of interesting things.
The new world order looks like this:
If businesses were benevolent they would optimize our feed to make us truly happy, kind to each other, informed, and reasonable. They would help us spend just the right amount of time online, and also the right amount of time offline, enjoying the sunshine and socializing in person with family and friends.
But no. Businesses are designed to make money, and on the Internet that often means through advertising. Ads were inserted into your feed. The more time you spend reading your feed, the more likely you will click on an ad, so the feed was made increasingly addictive. The feed preys on human vulnerabilities, and knowingly exploits elders and children. Despite laws prohibiting children under 13 from using many of these apps, most 10 year olds I know with a smartphone are using Snapchat® and Instagram®.
The time has come to take back control of our online experience. We must be in control of the programs, the smarts, that decide which people, messaging, news, games, videos, and other social media are interesting enough to get our attention. We must be able to choose how often our smartphone beeps to show us something new.
The Problem: Silos of Social Networks
Social networking has devolved into silos - our modern version of the Tower of Babel. A user on Snapchat® can't friend a person on YouTube®, and can't send a message to a Facebook® user. This design is a wall to keep users in, and to force users to use the businesses own app, which controls the users through it's own feed.
Each social networking silo gathers huge amounts of personal information about you. Beside using this data to continue to manipulate you to spend excessive time online, it has been shown businesses are releasing your personal data to third parties and governments.
If you are technical, the architecture page will provide a detailed description. Otherwise, the following simplified concepts will be useful.
Decentralize user accounts. Instead of creating your user account with a big social network, modern cryptography allows you to create your own unique account directly on your smartphone.
Move the "smarts" of the feed to your smartphone, and under your control. Instead of trusting a big social network's servers to look through all your personal data and the personal data of everyone else, your smartphone can process all the information visible to you, and pick out what's really important.
Open Source the "smarts" for your feed. The big social network's programs are secret so we don't know when we are being manipulated. Open Source software can be reviewed by our community so you know exactly how the choices are being made, and also if your information is being shared with other companies.
Create privacy through personas. It has become abundantly clear people want to separate their professional lives from their personal lives, their college lives from life with their parents. The old way was to create one account in LinkedIn® and another on Instagram. With personas, you can have all your different lives in a single app, and all kept completely separate.
We Need Your Help
We are creating the next generation of social networking services and we would really appreciate your help.
- Spread the word: Share this webpage on social media
- If you are a programmer, help us code
- If you are a user, help us test the system